Michael Gove and wife Sarah Vine finalising their divorce

2 July 2021, 17:21 | Updated: 2 July 2021, 18:03

Michael Gove and his wife Sarah Vine have announced they are planning to divorce
Michael Gove and his wife Sarah Vine have announced they are planning to divorce. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove and his journalist wife Sarah Vine have announced that they are "in the process of finalising their divorce".

The pair have "agreed to separate" after almost two decades of marriage but "remain close friends", according to a statement on behalf of the couple.

Mr Gove and Ms Vine will "continue to support their two children" and have asked for privacy during this time.

A friend of the couple said that the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and his wife had "drifted apart" but confirmed that there was "no one else involved".

"This is a difficult and sad decision for Michael and Sarah after 20 years of marriage," the friend added.

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"It is an entirely amicable separation and there is no one else involved. They have drifted apart over the past couple of years but they remain friends.

"Their absolute priority is the children."

A statement on behalf of the couple said: "Michael and Sarah have agreed to separate and they are in the process of finalising their divorce.

"They will continue to support their two children and they remain close friends.

"The family politely ask for privacy at this time and will not be providing any further comment."

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It comes just days after Matt Hancock quit as health secretary following the publication of a video which showed him kissing his aide, Gina Coladangelo.

The former Cabinet minister was forced into resigning following a furious backlash from politicians and the general public, with many expressing anger at Mr Hancock flouting social distancing rules.

Elsewhere, Mr Gove has been accused of misusing emergency Covid funds, following reports he used a £560,000 contract to conduct polling on the Union.

The cabinet minister commissioned the research under the cover of an emergency contract given to the firm Public First, The Herald reported.

According to the newspaper, services were extended to cover "qualitative research into EU exit topics and themes, re-building the economy following the Covid-19 crisis and attitudes to the UK union".

The decision to award the contract to the firm, whose bosses were friends of ex-No 10 adviser Dominic Cummings, has previously been ruled unlawful by the High Court.

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